when i was 12 i started getting made fun of and became very insecure. it was essentially bullying and by highschool had turned into full on bullying. im a bit predisposed to eczema/psoriasis and had my first and a very severe "attack" at age twelve. the undersides of my forearms were covered in itchy, scaley, bubbling rash. this has always come and gone though never as severe, ive only recently realized how this might correlate with my TMS/PPD and the onset of my emotional struggle. i was suicidal and felt worthless for six years. one of the most insecure people i can imagine being possible. i could rattle off 20-25 insecurities in an instant. at 16 i had my first spell of back pain while running. i never really thought about it, but this was also the culmination of stress and rage in my life, to this point. my brother was dealing with drugs and my parents were focused on him. he was a bit of a dick and they were a bit over bearing, regardless of who was to blame id come home covered in bruises from being punched in passing to my parents arguing and specifically mom crying every couple of days. add to that figuring out what to major in college. the podiatrist told me to wear heal inserts and the placebo worked. the pain would return intermittently over the next few years, confusingly, as i still wore the inserts. at age 20 i had a recurrence of pain. it began with a slightly funny feeling after one specific bunny hop on my BMX bike, i remember it to this day. over the next few months it progressed as i kept riding. it was my biggest passion, i couldnt stop. eventually i was in level 9 pain all day everywhere i went. so i went to a sports therapist who took an MRI and made the diagnosis; slipped disc. not bad enough to operate on. id just need to do some PT and as id find out, never ride BMX again. or any other type of riding for that matter, i tried them all over the next couple of years. flatland BMX, road bikes, full suspension mountain bikes. eventually the pain would return and id move onto the next hopeful passion. i never put it together, but age 20 was, like 16, the beginning of the next chapter in my life. it was time to figure out where id work and live after college. i also had an extremely stressful roommate situation at this point - they regularly took advantage of me and made me feel weak. The first girl i ever really loved also broke up with me right around the same time as the onset of pain as well. it was another triple threat, even four if you add the fear induced by the pain that id never ride BMX again. Eventually it subsided and since age twenty ive spent the past 7 years formulating complex lists of things i can and can not do, what bed to sleep on, how to modify my car seat, what shoes to wear, etc etc. ive found and fallen in love with surfing, which is a blessing as it never activated my pain response. aside from random spells which, though relevant, as they follow the stress-pain relationship, ill leave out for the sake of brevity. four months ago i "wore a lip" surfing, meaning the lip crashed down on my shoulders. i had read an article once about someone fracturing their spine this way. my back felt "funny" after the fall. it then began to hurt. after one more wave i went in, got a burger, and by the time id left the restaurant i could hardly walk. it was my slipped disc acting up, i figured, triggered by the wave landing on my shoulder, as this slow onset of pain was similar to past experiences and didnt indicate an instantaneous injury. this correlated with more big life changes, yada yada yada. it "healed" (went away) in about a month. about 3 months ago i began having a funny tension deep in my left butt cheek upon waking up. it would go away entirely thereafter. but it was there every morning for ten or fifteen seconds. i had begun sleeping on a different mattress, though more importantly major life changes were in the works. sure enough as this major redirection, in a sense, of my life continued, the sciatica got worse. until i drove for around ten hours straight on a road trip to see friends and the coast, and begin my new life. the sciatica became bad. as the holidays neared and i continued to drive, which of course i thought was the issue, my pain worsened. naturally, this coincided with my needing to meet a deadline to make a flight home for the holidays where id also be seeing the third girl (and last to date) id ever been in love with, all the while explaining my new lifestyle to family and being faced with finding a job in a new city when i returned to california. my sciatica got so bad i could hardly walk, go figure. i was accepting that it was time for the same spinal fusion surgery that some of my friends had gotten. after all, my disc had probably, after seven years, slipped far enough to now be hitting a nerve, which requires surgery. Well i asked my friends for some advice, began the research into a procedure which i already knew had a grim outlook. 50% had no reduction in pain at all, of the 50% that did, 50% had the pain come back or worsen after two years. for 12-15 thousand dollars. id looked into it 7 years ago when i was 20. then i stumbled upon mention of Sarno's book and the misleading effects of MRI findings and began to wonder. im a structural man. ive got my degree in mechanical engineering and also consider myself to be very open minded. after 2.5 years in the field i left the career to lead a more healthy lifestyle somewhere warmer, and took steps to transition away from a money based outlook on life to a happiness based outlook. so i went from wearing a tie every day and having my own office to living in my car and working as a server in southern california, in one year, entirely by choice. i wont get into the deep philosophy behind all that, lets just say i consider myself an open minded person. well i remember hearing about Sarnos book 7 years ago as well and immediately dismissing it. not this time, i was finally convinced to pick it up and had tremendous results from day one. Im still new to the TMS/PPD scene, only began learning the day after this last christmas, just, what, like 15 days ago or so. its been a wonderful journey and i cant even explain how good it feels to know there is nothing structurally wrong. ive compiled a massive evidence sheet in this short time and utilized various techniques from Sarnos book and the treatment program on this website to effectively treat my symptoms psychologically. i have also begun to approach my condition on the deeper level of therapy and reorganizing my thoughts to include more self compassion and lessen my inner bullying (i write a letter to that dick daily, and it helps). although ive had hours of being pain free and had SO MUCH evidence that completely contradicts my unconscious minds plans of deceiving me into believing the sciatica is caused from this and that (ive literally disproved them all, every single one of them, through symptomatic psychological treatment methods, re: mind games) the pain does continue, intermittently. but ive got so much hope and am so excited, i cant even contain myself. I rode BMX hard a few times over the past couple weeks, overcoming the pain with various psychological games or treatments. for example, once while reading sarnos book i thought about the bullying and began to tear up. i wrote an angry list and then my pain had completely subsided and i rode BMX after. i can finally enjoy my original passion again after seven years. this is truly beautiful and life changing for me. i also deeply value the high level of introspection that this treatment has provided me with. the reason i discussed how open minded i am is because thats actually been completely blown out of the water by what ive had to learn to accept through the discovery of PPD. And i love it. I love learning about a part of me and a function of my brain that i could have never imagined existed. i love proving the seemingly sadistic portion of my unconscious mind wrong daily, and am growing so much as a person in ways that i never knew that i could. im still on the road to recovery, will be saving up for treatment in the Orange County area shortly. i watched the video of the 2012 pain conference today and was very impressed by eric sherman's explanation of why traditional psychotherapy doesnt work for TMS, something i was wondering about since Sarno had mentioned it in his book but didnt explain why. its good to know i will likely need to find a PPD specialist, though kind of sucks because ive been informed of very inexpensive means of obtaining therapy through different resources, like college centers which use students overseen by senior practitioners. i wonder if i could still utilize these resources but simply approach it from a psychological standpoint and not even mention the pain. we will see. sorry for the long post, im just excited to be able to share this with people that understand. its very frustrating in real life! i cant imagine how Sarno did it for so many years, going against the medical community, and am equally grateful for our current medical and psychological leaders.